Mental health is a topic that is not being addressed enough in the trucking industry.
There are many articles, websites, and businesses that help truck drivers live a physically healthy lifestyle, but what about mental health?
Mental health issues are not uncommon in truck drivers. In fact, trucking poses several risk factors when it comes to mental health issues: lack of sleep, loneliness, stressful work environment, lack of physical activity.
Truck driving can be a rewarding career, but health issues such as sleep apnea, obesity, diabetes, depression can result from the strains of the job.
So, how do drivers prevent these health issues?
Stress is an unavoidable part of trucking. Trucking allows you to see beautiful parts of the country, but it also puts you in many stressful situations.
Driving in traffic and unfamiliar cities create stress on a driver. There is stress when you are not sure if you will be able to deliver your load on time. You also can become stressed when you are away from home for so long.
As you can tell, there are plenty of stress triggers when you drive professionally for a living.
One of the best ways to reduce stress is by learning how to handle it. Now, I realize that is easier said than done. It takes time and self-discipline.
Here are some more examples of ways to reduce stress as a truck driver:
- Listen to music or a podcast
- Start eating healthy
- Exercise or stretch
- Talk with family/friends
- Get good sleep
- Plan your trip out
In addition to managing stress, there are other ways you can keep good mental health while on the road.
Drivers often portray the image of being “tough”. Mental health is not a discussion that many truckers will have among each other.
Communicating your mental health struggles with friends/family, therapists or other drivers is a good way to work through your mental health struggles. Here are some more ways you can stay mentally healthy on the road:
Tips to Keep Good Mental Health
- Stay in touch with loved ones
- Establish a morning and night routine
- Bring a pet on the road
- Travel with your spouse
- Consider team driving
- Bring things on the road to keep you entertained (laptop, video games, tv)
- Occasionally book a hotel room. It’s nice to get out of your truck every once in a while.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Drivers need to prioritize their mental health and take the necessary steps needed to be mentally healthy. It all starts with communicating with someone you trust, managing stress, and taking time out of the day to do something for yourself.
For more information on mental health in truck drivers, check out Common Mental Health Issues Truck Drivers Face.